Lord Advocate must tackle FAI reform, drug prosecutions and constitutional role


Commenting on the appointment of the new Lord Advocate and Solicitor General, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

“It will soon be six years since the tragic death of Lamara Bell and John Yuill by the side of the M9 motorway.

“Despite numerous promises of a Fatal Accident Inquiry the families are still left without answers.

“The tragedy of their deaths has been compounded by the snail’s pace of the Crown Office.  This is no way to treat anyone.

“Warm words are wholly inadequate.  Reform is long overdue and that must be led by the new Lord Advocate.

On prosecutions for drugs offences he added:

“Scotland has the worst drug death rate in Europe, the developed world and the UK.  In fact, there are four times as many deaths in Scotland than England.

“In March this Parliament backed a Liberal Democrats motion to divert people gripped by drugs into treatment, and cease prosecution and imprisonment.

“We need a new approach from the Crown Office.  Another huge responsibility for the new Lord Advocate.

On splitting the role of the Lord Advocate he said:

“There is one specific reform that is for the First Minister.

“The role needs split to end the apparent conflicts of interest,

“It is no longer appropriate for the Lord Advocate to act as both a prosecutor and a politician sitting in the cabinet.

“This is not new. But in the later days of the last parliament, the conflict of interest between those duties fell into sharp focus.

“Even the impression of a conflict undermines the integrity of the role.

“Separate positions, with an independent Director of Prosecutions to run the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service could bring both focus to the task of recovery in justice, and with it a healthier separation of powers.

“I would like to congratulate the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General and wish them well for the future.”


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